It seems everywhere you look there's another freshman making an impact in her first year of high school.
In Batavia's 57-47 win over St. Charles North last week, the Bulldogs' Hannah Frazier had 18 points and 14 rebounds while the North Stars' Morgan Rosencrants also had a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Frazier and Rosencrants know each other well from travel basketball.
"It was good having that kind of competition and fun playing against her," Frazier said. "We practiced a lot together. She's a good friend of mine."
Frazier said having upperclassmen teammates like Liza Fruendt and Erin Bayram have made her transition to varsity basketball easier.
"She (Liza) and Erin are definitely great mentors and have been very encouraging and helping me and (freshman) Bethany (Orman) learn the ropes and stuff," Frazier said.
"It's a lot of fun, the girls are really nice and they are always encouraging and I feel I'm doing my best and it's always helpful when I have such great teammates."
Batavia is twice as fortunate to have two freshmen in its rotation. Orman took her turn in the spotlight Friday against Geneva when she made two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and made quite an impression on the opposing coach.
"Little No. 3 (Orman) can knock down a 3," Vikings coach Sarah Meadows said. "She's got ice in her veins. Catch and shoot. Good players (Orman and Frazier), they are a good team."
Fruendt also started as a freshman at Batavia and said she's enjoying her role now as a junior to help Batavia's two rookies.
"I know how it feels to be in that position and I know it can be really hard at times because you don't think you are up to par with other players or your mental aspect isn't in it, or the girls are more physical than you," said Fruendt, who scored 26 points against both the North Stars and Vikings last week.
"She's 14 playing as a freshman, I was 14, you are a lot younger, you are playing against girls who are 18. I just told her (Frazier) to keep going and do what you know how to do and if you keep going nobody is going to stop you. I watched her play all summer and I have seen a lot of that. She knows how to move her body around the basket. Having a left hand and a good left hand at a young age is going to help you a lot. It's been really awesome and exciting to see her keep going and it's going to be fun to see when I come back (after graduating) and she's just dominating."
Three days later, Fruendt was saying very similar things about Orman whose 9 points were the second most for Batavia in a pressure-packed setting against Geneva.
"She really stepped up and is really becoming a varsity player and it's a lot of fun to see her grow and help her through the process and it is kind of a flashback to what I was like freshman year," Fruendt said. "It's a lot of fun to see her becoming a really good player."
North Stars coach Colleen Backer is likewise impressed with Rosencrants and looks forward to having a healthy Liz McNally to help inside and let Rosencrants show her versatility scoring inside and out.
"She's a very, very strong kid mentally and physically especially as a freshman she's just years above her grade level," Backer said. "She's just a competitor. She has a drive to win. Off the court the girls just love her. When it comes to game time she's ready to play. She's so active. She works very, very hard and she gets the game. She just crashes the boards and she's very strong. She's got a nose for the ball coming off the rim. That's a real positive for us."
Diamond returns: After coming from behind for a 60-56 win over Batavia Friday in a game the Vikings largely played half-court defense and won with their edge inside, the talk afterward was that Geneva's diamond press would still be a factor this season without point guard Michaela Loebel, it would just take a little time to fine-tune it.
Turns out it took one day.
Geneva brought back its press Saturday against South Elgin, forcing 18 first-half turnovers to race to a 40-17 halftime lead of an eventual 15-point win.
"We just haven't worked on it yet with our new group of kids," Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said. "We have to find someone who is quick enough to get back and forth (at the point like Loebel). We'd like it to be Sami (Pawlak) but we're worried about her with foul trouble. Not gone for good just have to work on it more."
Geneva's two weekend wins improved its overall record to 6-2 and 2-0 in the Upstate Eight Conference River Division.
The Vikings have games the next two weeks with St. Charles East (Dec. 6) and Streamwood (Dec. 12) with a chance to put itself in good position for defending its River title.
Better backups: The Saints will have third-year starting point guard Amanda Hilton for just half of that Geneva matchup because of team rules after Hilton missed St. Charles East's past weekend games while at a soccer tournament.
Saints coach Lori Drumtra said having backups like sophomore Katie Claussner and senior Katie Kolker make filling in for Hilton a little easier.
"I wasn't that concerned because we have Katie Claussner who got a lot of playing time this summer," Drumtra said. "I knew back in October Amanda was going to miss these games. We've had plenty of an opportunity to prepare for it.
"Last year she missed one (game) due to soccer. We're not used to it. As good as Katie is, when you get used to (Hilton playing) it takes a little time to find your rhythm without your point guard. It's nice to have that depth."
While Paige Jordan led the Saints with 19 points in Saturday's 53-38 win over St. Charles North, Drumtra was glad to see Carly Pottle connect on a couple 3-pointers and score 12 points and Kyra Washington add 11 as she continues to develop multiple scoring options.
"She's (Jordan) been a catalyst for us but Carly has a nice shot too," Drumtra said. "Amanda gives us that third potential 3-point shooter and Kyra has a nice 3-point shot. Paige is a very good shooter and we look for her to score but if they do key on her we do have other people that can step up. And then she doesn't feel so much pressure that she has to do all the scoring."
New nickname: Junior Hannah Nowling was second to Washington in rebounding for the Saints in the win over St. Charles North, something Lori Drumtra has come to expect.
"We call her our rebounding machine," Drumtra said. "Hannah did a nice job. She has just been a monster for us on the boards and she's going to start making those shots underneath."